Posted by mukikamu on December 6, 2007
Here I am, stepping into something huge again. Paul Theroux is one of the most popular travel writers of our times and I am fully aware that it will take me years to eat myself through his literature. He has several essential travel volumes to choose from and hereby I officially promise to report on The Great Railway Bazaar and The Old Patagonian Express A.S.A.P..
The volume I read this time was The Happy Isles of Oceania and to be perfectly honest, after the poetic and respectful admiration towards locals of Thesiger, the superior realism of Theroux came as a bucket of icy water to my face. While Thesiger emphasizes his travels’ substantiality and nobleness, Theroux is shamelessly critical. He calls himself a ‘natural skeptic’ but sometimes I felt he was directly rude. He is not the type to rave about his destinations and I definitely wasn’t encouraged to start planning a trip right away. After getting over this initial culture shock however, I found his book informative, drawing an up-to-date picture of the far-away and exotic islands I just dream about. It is a very personal book too, written when times were tough, which explains his bitterness of style, but I am still flabbergasted how miserably unhappy you can be in paradise. The most enjoyable passages for me were the ones where he is quietly paddling his collapsible kayak alone and his rage and anger gives way to peace in his heart. Envy filled my heart.
I really must read another book of his to get a real picture. However spoilt, ungrateful, unsatisfied and grumpy he seems, he is a brilliant observer and a great traveler.
Posted in Australia, AUSTRALIA & THE PACIFIC, Books, Cook Islands, Easter Island, Fiji islands, Hawaii, Marquesas, New Zealand, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tahiti, Tonga, Travelers, Trobriands, Vanatu, Vava'u | Tagged: Australia, Bengt Danielson, book, Cook, Easter Island, Gaugin, Marquesas, Mellville, New Zealand, Oceania, Samoa, Solomons, Tahiti, Theroux, Thesiger, Thor Heyerdahl, Tonga, traveler, Trobriands, Vanatu, Vava'u | 1 Comment »
Posted by mukikamu on August 30, 2007
If you ever wondered what could possibly be exciting at an excavation, please read Thor Heyerdahl’s thrilling book about the secrets of Easter Island. You will never think digging earth is dull ever again. He is irresistably readable and brings out your curious and enthusiastic inner child. His storytelling is so exciting, you hardly believe it’s non-fiction. You are captivated and truly feel that you yourself are pushing through the impossibly narrow underground cave passages and negotiating with the maddeningly superstitious natives. It’s a long book and I haven’t even finished it yet, still, yes, this is a raving review.
Posted in Books, Chile, Easter Island, South America | 1 Comment »
Posted by mukikamu on August 6, 2007
Is there a greater classic among adventure books than the reckless Thor Heyerdahl’s story about a 104 day long raft ride through the Pacific in 1947? It is just as crazy as it is heroic and makes your jaw drop everytime. The 6 men fighting the elements on a hand-made balsa wood vesel are at the mercy of the acient Gods of South America and the Pacific. Encounters with wonderful Verne-like creatures of the sea bring the Pacific to life. Squids and giant sharks are right under your feet, fish and octopus fly into your face daily. You just have to put your toothbrush in the water and a fish bites on it vehemently. Myths accompany the Scandinavian crew all the way, it’s an uplifting tale of a pursuit of dreams. Mandatory for armchair explorers. I am prepared to fight everyone who says it’s a children’s book.
OUR HERO THOR HEYERDAHL
Posted in AUSTRALIA & THE PACIFIC, Books, Easter Island, Ecuador, Marquesas, Peru, South America, Tahiti, Travelers | 3 Comments »